Browsing "Animal Law"

A Little More on Service Dogs…

On Friday, we mentioned that Wyoming is considering a bill to make misrepresenting a service animal a misdemeanor, a law that is no doubt simple common sense for many. Then, like clockwork, the story of Patsy Hayes and her latex-detection dog, Andromeda popped up the next day. Patsy Hayes is severely allergic to latex, and Andromeda lets her know latex is nearby, in order to steer clear of it. This story is a timely reminder of the value of service dogs, and of the varied, perhaps unexpected services they can perform.

The word “allergy” conjures up images of swollen eyes, dripping noses, maybe a rash — and in most cases, that is the extent of an allergic reaction. But anaphylaxis, Patsy’s reaction to latex, is far more severe: it can be life-threatening and brought on by extremely low levels of exposure.

Living with severe allergies can be extremely life-limiting, but a detection dog can help to open doors:

Years of training dogs to detect explosives and narcotics for the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies led Gavin to branch out in 2009 and focus on teaching dogs to detect an array of compounds — including nuts, milk, wheat, eggs and soy — that create serious allergic reactions in her clients.

Some of the afflicted, she said, rarely left their homes, didn’t go to school or movies, parks or churches — or even visit friends — out of fear of an allergy attack.

“But after getting a dog,” Gavin said, “they would start going places.”

Not the service dog of yesteryear, but a valuable job indeed!

cciServiceDog

Service Dog! Canine Companions for Independence

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Feb 17, 2017 - Animal Law    No Comments

Misrepresenting Pets as Service Animals Could Become Misdemeanor in WY

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, misrepresenting a pet as a service animal may become a misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $750.

For some, issues like this inevitably evoke sarcastic responses: “Government is focusing on fake service animals now? So this must mean we’ve solved unemployment, industrial pollution, and homelessness, right? Har har har.”

But we are glad to see this issue addressed. Pets posing as service animals de-legitimizes real service animals and their work, and that comes with real consequences. Consequences for the public, for businesses, for tenants and landlords, and most importantly, for these wonderful animals and the people who depend on them their well-being and independence.

 

Good chance this dog is a great pet. Almost zero chance this dog is a service animal.

Good chance this dog is a great pet. Near certain chance this dog is not a service animal.

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Dec 20, 2016 - Animal Law    No Comments

Judge Refuses to View Pet Dispute as Child Custody Case

While acknowledging that dogs are treated as members of the family, a Saskatoon (Canada) Judge has emphatically refused to view a divorcing couple’s dispute about pet ownership as a child custody case.

The judge said this sort of case should not be chewing up precious court time “in a justice system that is incredibly busy, where delay has virtually become systemic.”

“To consume scarce judicial resources with this matter is wasteful. In my view such applications should be discouraged,” he added.

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Don’t waste my time.

The judge also wisely got in front of the old “Dogs are property under the law, viewed just like an old table or can opener!” canard by pointing out that we are most certainly not legally entitled to treat them (or other pets) in a cruel or neglectful manner.

Of course we all love our pets and consider them part of the family, but from a legal standpoint, we couldn’t agree more with the judge that claims like this are a waste of time, talent, and resources.

 

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Jun 29, 2016 - Animal Law    1 Comment

NAIA Trust Expands with Hire of Animal Enthusiast Attorney

NAIA Trust is excited to announce the addition of Sara Chisnell as the Legislative Director. Ms. Chisnell is a Michigan based attorney with an extensive background in animal law. Sara’s role with NAIA Trust will focus on expanding state and federal outreach by promoting reasonable laws, policies and regulations to protect animals and the people who care for them.

SaraChisnellSara has successfully petitioned for moderate animal-related laws at a grassroots and national level. She was previously involved with NAIA through National Conferences and various legislative issues where she connected with NAIA President, Patti Strand. “One of Sarah’s greatest assets is that she’s an animal person. She’s heavily involved in the animal world in all aspects of her life. This is an enormous strength when working with animal related legislation,” Patti says of Sara.

Sara graduated from Otterbein College with a BA in Equine Science. She then went on to Michigan State University College of Law, where she focused on animal law.  Sara spent nine years with the United Kennel Club (UKC) focusing on canine legislation. She also served as in-house counsel and the representative for pointing breeds. Ms. Chisnell is active in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, and regularly trains and tests her German Shorthaired Pointers in Hunting Retriever Club. She is passionate about canine performance sport, in particular dock diving. She also trains young horses in basic dressage for a Warmblood breeder.

Sara commented on her new role saying, “I’m very excited for this opportunity to use my education and background to help NAIA in its quest to promote animal welfare, while also protecting the rights and interests of those whose livelihoods are animals. The human-animal bond is a very important and primary part of my life; preserving it is essential. I consider myself quite lucky to have found a position so intricately entwined with my life’s passion of both dogs and horses.”

NAIA Trust is a 501(c) (4) organization. The Mission of NAIA Trust is to promote the welfare of animals, strengthen the human-animal bond and safeguard the rights of responsible animal owners, enthusiasts and professionals through education, legislation and the courts.

Apr 21, 2015 - Animal Law    2 Comments

Uber accused of refusing to transport service animals

A federal judge told the ridesharing company Uber that it must defend against a discrimination lawsuit after its drivers were accused of refusing to transport service animals.

Some of the accusations paint an extremely troubling picture:

In one instance, the lawsuit states, two blind passengers with service animals were met with cursing and shouts of “no dogs” from an Uber driver who refused to admit them. Another time, a driver allegedly stashed a blind woman’s dog in the trunk then ignored her pleas to pull over once she’d realized what had happened.

Talk about callous disregard…  if allegations are proven true, it will take a long time to remove those stains from the company.

Uber has 14 days to respond. The Justice Department has already weighed in on this issue, and stated:

“The ADA applies to private entities that are primarily engaged in providing transportation services,” even if a company is not a public accommodation, said the filing by Justice Department lawyers and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag’s office.

We strongly support service animals and the people who need them at NAIA, and will be keeping a close eye on this case.

Apr 2, 2015 - Animal Law    No Comments

“Fake Service Dog Bill” Advances

In Florida on Monday, a “Fake service dog bill” advanced in the senate.

Much of this bill is just a restatement of the Americans with Disabilities act, but it adds two criminal offenses:

The bill would make interfering with the disabled and their service animals a second-degree misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to 60 days in jail, up to $500 in fines and 30 hours of community service for an organization that serves people with disabilities or another entity, at the discretion of a judge.

Under the bill, the same crime and penalties would apply to pet owners who lie about having a disability and falsely claim that their pet is a service animal.

While NAIA has not taken an official position on the bill, we do laud its goals.

With more service animals assisting people with invisible disabilities than ever before, and a growing number of pet owners who feel entitled to bring their companions anywhere and everywhere (and with easy access to vests, harnesses, and other paraphernalia that make their pets look like service animals), it is easy to see why there have been so many recent collisions at this intersection.

But even if it is easy to understand, there is no good reason to harangue somebody with a service animal… just as there is no excuse for falsely declaring your pet a service animal. While people with fake service dogs aren’t acting out of malice, and may not think they are doing anything wrong, their actions hurt the very people who most need the calm, reliable assistance these amazing animals provide.

ExeterBob

 

May 15, 2014 - Animal Law, Animal Rights    2 Comments

HSUS Coughs Up $15.75 Million, Settles Racketeering Suit

Great news today: HSUS and several co-defendants have paid Feld Entertainment $15.75 million for their involvement in a “frivolous,” “vexatious,” “groundless and unreasonable” case brought against Feld Entertainment and to settle the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case brought against them. (Couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of conflict fundraising organizations!)

This is the second settlement Feld Entertainment has received from the same case; in 2012, Feld received $9.3 million from the ASPCA.

The case in question claimed that Feld was abusing elephants in violation of the Endangered Species Act, and was accompanied by numerous fundraising campaigns viciously maligning the circus. “Claimed” being the all-important word here; while the case created great publicity for the animal rights organizations involved, it all fell apart when the star witness turned out to be an “essentially paid plaintiff” who had received $190,000 from animal rights organizations. Oops!

This is what happens when conflict fundraisers play their unethical, ends-justify-the-means games against somebody who can and will fight back, rather than roll over, pay them off, and pray they go away. Let’s hope this becomes a larger trend. Congratulations to Feld Entertainment for having the guts to see this through to the end, and winning a battle for everybody who works with animals!

Apr 8, 2014 - Animal Law    No Comments

What is Animal Law? Available for Download

What Is Animal Law? by Jerrold Tannenbaum, M.A., J.D.,  published in the Cleveland State Law Review, is now available for download. This is a must-read for anybody who wants to understand the complex and often-confusing issue of animal law, and covers the importance of how it defines itself.

An excellent and important article, don’t miss it. Click the links below to read:

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